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Cablegate: Cambodia and Next Steps On Burma

VZCZCXRO7212
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0315/01 0570556
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 260556Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8069
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3132
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2213

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000315

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM CB BM
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA AND NEXT STEPS ON BURMA

REF: STATE 20000

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Margaret McKean; Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador called on MFA Secretary of
State Ouch Borith on February 22 at the latter's request, and
used the occasion to raise reftel demarche points regarding
Burma. Borith, however, was more eager to discuss North
Korean affairs, and related his recent discussions with
Japanese officials in Tokyo on abduction issues. He mentioned
that the Iranians have again invited a Cambodian delegation
to Tehran (the MFA again declined). The MFA official
apologized for continued RGC nonresponsiveness on the
USG-proposed shipboarding agreement, and complained that the
South Koreans have indicated their desire to compete for the
rotational chair on the UNSC in 2013 that the Cambodians are
seeking. End Summary.


Burma
-----

2. (C) On February 22, the Ambassador and Pol/Econ Chief
met with MFA Secretary of State Ouch Borith, and the
Ambassador raised the points outlined in reftel regarding USG
proposed next steps. Borith was noncommittal on the
appointment of a Special Envoy but assured us that the RGC
remains committed to helping on the issue of Burma. He noted
that Prime Minister Hun Sen will be visiting Burma in May or
June, and reiterated the PM's suggestion that his government
and the USG discuss Burma in greater detail beforehand. He
said that the RGC would welcome USG suggestions for topics of
discussion and requests that Hun Sen should make to the
regime. The Ambassador thanked Borith, adding that the
upcoming visit by EAP DAS Eric John would be an opportune
time to share views on the PM's trip.

North Korea, PSI, UNSC Seat
---------------------------

3. (C) Borith was much more expansive on the issue of North
Korea, having recently returned from a visit to Russia and
Japan, where he had learned of recent developments
surrounding the Six-Party Talks. Borith noted that Japanese
officials remain adamant that the GOJ will not normalize
relations with North Korea unless the abduction issue is
resolved and a full accounting of those abducted is provided
to the GOJ. Borith said that while progress on the North
Korean nuclear issue must be encouraged, it is impossible to
trust the North Korean leadership.

4. (C) The USG-proposed shipboarding agreement, explained
Borith, remains under discussion within the RGC. The MFA
official apologized for the delay in providing a response,
saying that there is little expertise or understanding of the
legal concepts contained in the text. Pol/Econ Chief
responded that the Embassy had learned of a planned PSI
experts meeting in New Zealand, which could afford an
opportunity for USG officials to discuss the draft agreement
with the RGC in greater depth. Borith said that a full
discussion would be welcome, adding that Cambodia is prepared
to cooperate on any interdictions related to WMD.

5. (C) Turning to Cambodia's bid for a rotational seat on
the UNSC in 2013, Borith told us that the South Korean
government had informed the MFA that South Korea would also
seek the seat, and asked that Cambodia consider their bid in
the spirit of friendly competition. Borith said that
Cambodia had been aware that Bhutan was also seeking the
seat, but the news of South Korea's entry was unwelcome. He
explained that Cambodia has withdrawn an earlier bid for a
rotational seat in 2000-2001 in favor of South Korea.
Moreover, the South Koreans had already approached the UN
Secretariat before informing the Cambodian government.

SIPDIS
Borith said that Cambodia has already been assured of support
from 35 countries, and hoped that the USG would also support
Cambodia's candidacy. The Ambassador promised to convey
Cambodia's request to Washington.

Iran
----

6. (C) Borith told us that the Iranian Ambassador based in
Hanoi paid him a call on February 21 and asked for the
Cambodian government's position vis-a-vis the Iranian nuclear
issue. The Iranian Ambassador requested that the RGC send a
delegation to visit Tehran to learn more about the Iranian
government's policy on nuclear issues. Borith said that this
was not the first time the GOI has invited the RGC for a

PHNOM PENH 00000315 002 OF 002


visit. Borith said that the RGC lacks the finances for such
a visit, and told the Iranian Ambassador that it would not be
possible.

Comment
-------

7. (C) We would welcome Department guidance on what we
should recommend to PM Hun Sen regarding Burma. We would
suggest developing some briefing material on the various
issues of concern to the USG (political prisoners, treatment
of ethnic minorities, child soldiers, etc.) that could be
shared with the PM's office in advance. We could also have
any briefing material translated into Khmer, so that the PM
would be well briefed in advance of any meeting. End Comment.
MUSSOMELI

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